Winter is a great time to focus on improving your core strength and stability. I always love to use this time to lay a strong foundation for my training. It’s an opportunity to strengthen the core, improve muscular balance and strengthen the smaller, intrinsic muscles that will help us to maintain proper running form. You’ll feel the results when spring roles around!
Below you’ll find a fantastic full body exercise for runners and athletes! It focuses on the stability of the trunk with the oppositional movement of the arms and legs and will strengthen your core, arms, hamstrings and glutes while improving your balance.
Today, we’re going to focus on mastering the basics but there are many ways to increase the challenge when you’re ready. Stay turned for a future post for some challenging variations to this exercise.
- Quadruped position. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders and knees lined up underneath your hips.
- If you hyperextend at your joints, be mindful that the creases at your elbow joints are facing towards opposite corners of the mat you are kneeling on, forming an imaginary diagonal line.
- Eyes should focused on the floor and the head should be in line with the spine
- Imagine that your shoulders are very wide and reach them across the room without changing the position of your hands.
- Finally, be sure the shoulders don’t creep up by the ears. Feel a gentle pull of energy from your arms and shoulders toward your knees
- Please note that if you have pain in your wrists, you can also do this with your forearms resting on a box.
Plank with Reaches
- Maintain your hip and trunk position as you begin to reach your right leg back. Gently drag the toes along the mat and press through the hamstring as you extend and straighten the leg.
- This is a great place to make sure that you recruit the hamstrings for this work. A band wrapped around the legs would also provide great feedback and resistance.
- Stretch the leg out behind you begin to reach and raise that leg straight back. Most likely that hip will raise up, so strive to keep it even with the other hip and pointing towards the ground. The goal is to isolate the work in the hamstrings and not involve the lower back. Repeat 2x
- If you’re feeling stable, reach the left arm out in front. Raise and reach both the arm and leg together. Be mindful to keep the connection with the abdominals so there is not dip in the trunk. Repeat 6X
- Place the hand back onto the mat. Maintain the starting position with the leg reaching back behind you on the mat. Raise it up in a long line.
- Bend at the knee to roughly a 90 degree angle. Flex the foot. Pulse that leg up towards the ceiling isolating the glutes. Repeat 6X
I hope you will make this a part of your regular routine! Want to incorporate more exercises like this into your workout routine? Consider signing up for one of my classes. Click here for more info.